Hawaii is famous for its stunning beaches, majestic volcanoes, and delightful tropical climate. However, it may surprise you to learn that there is an abandoned town tucked away amidst the vibrant foliage of the island of Kauai.
A Brief Overview of Kōloa’s History
The town of Kōloa was established in 1835 by Ladd & Co. as a prosperous sugar plantation community. This was the inaugural commercial sugar plantation in Hawaii, yielding countless pounds of sugar throughout its existence. The town experienced significant growth alongside the booming industry. By the 1890s, its population had surpassed 4,000 individuals, primarily consisting of immigrants from China, Japan, Portugal, and the Philippines. Kōloa boasted a range of amenities, including schools, churches, stores, a hospital, and a convenient railroad that linked it to the nearby port of Nawiliwili.
Nevertheless, the sugar industry experienced a decline in the 20th century as it faced tough competition from other regions, labor disputes, and environmental challenges. The plantation shut down in 1996, and over time, the town was deserted by its inhabitants. Several buildings were destroyed or abandoned, and the railway tracks were taken out. Today, there are only a handful of structures that have managed to withstand the test of time, including the old mill, the post office, and the stone church. The town has become deserted, with nature reclaiming its territory through overgrown vegetation and thriving wildlife.
Looking ahead to the future of Kōloa
Kōloa still holds historical and cultural importance, despite being abandoned. This location is included on the National Register of Historic Places and is also featured on the Kōloa Heritage Trail. The trail is a self-guided tour that highlights the town’s history and notable landmarks. Several buildings have undergone restoration or preservation efforts, with future plans to establish a museum and cultural center in the vicinity. The town also holds a yearly plantation days celebration, showcasing music, food, crafts, and activities that pay tribute to the town’s rich history.
Kōloa is a captivating destination in Hawaii, serving as a nostalgic link to the island’s history and a promising catalyst for its future. It’s a hidden gem of a town, waiting to be discovered and admired by those who venture there.
Kōloa, an abandoned town on Kauai’s Kauai island, was established in 1835 as a prosperous sugar plantation community. Despite its decline, the town still holds historical and cultural importance, with the Kōloa Heritage Trail highlighting its history. Restoration efforts are underway, and plans for a museum and cultural center are in the works. Kōloa is a captivating destination in Hawaii.